(16th to 19th centuries)
+ Through the missionary efforts of various religious communities, beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing until 1866, the Vietnamese people heard the message of the Gospel and may came to embrace the Faith despite severe persecutions and the thread of death.
+ In 1988, 117 people martyred during the eighteenth century were canonized. Among those honored were bishops, European and Vietnamese priests, and lay people from every walk of life.
+ Included in this group is the Vietnamese priest, Andrew Dung-Lac, who was one of a group of martyrs killed in 1839.
+ The memorial of these martyrs was extended to the Universal Church in 1989. They are honored as the patrons of Vietnam.
For prayer and reflection
“Come to my aid with your prayers, that I may have the strength to fight according to the law, and indeed to fight the good fight and to fight until the end and so finish the race. We may not again see each other in this life, but we will have the happiness of seeing each other again in the world to come, when, standing at the throne of the spotless Lamb, we will together join in singing his praises and exult for ever in the joy of our triumph. Amen.”—from a letter of Saint Paul Le-Bao-Tinh sent to students of the Seminary of Ke-Vinh in 1843
On this day, we also remember Blessed Maria Anna Sala. Although she had to postpone her entrance into religious life in order to help care for her family, she was eventually able to enter the Sisters of St. Marcellina. After working as a teacher for 40 years, she was diagnosed with throat cancer, but she continued her work with dignity and devotion to Christ and her students for eight more years. She died in 1891 and was beatified in 1980.
O God, source and origin of all fatherhood,
who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions
faithful to the Cross of your Son,
even to the shedding of their blood,
grant, through their intercession,
that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters,
we may be your children both in name and in truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.